adjective. 1. Generating personal growth. 2. Transformative.
Growth. Transformation. Expanding consciousness. Meaning the development of new psychological capacities, new relationships, new understandings.
Those are the goals. I believe they’re the goals of every being everywhere, including mountains and rivers and clouds, if those can be said to have goals. Those are the goals of Southwestern College, my alma mater, and they’re the reason I went there. They’re my goals, too; I got into the business of being a therapist in part because I’d learned about the necessity of growth in my own life. Growth is good. Growth is its own reward.
Another thing about growth is that having done some of it, I have the feeling that I should be exempt from doing more of it for a while. Like for a year or so. Or at least a month. “Wow!” I say after dusting myself off, “thanks for that. I learned a ton. Great! Where are the peanuts, again?”
Because growth is painful, most of the time. For all of its rewards, actually doing the growth isn’t generally fun. In my experience, the process of transformation is often accompanied by bafflement; doldrums; exhaustion; misplaced anger; running away; projection; and other psychological bogies. Sometimes growth even passes through physical pains. Right or wrong, I find that illnesses, even injuries, accompany hard growth work.
It turns out that being a therapist is very growthy for me. Just about every week something comes up, especially in the realms that fall under “paperwork,” that brings up some of the junk listed above. And if I’m honest, just about every session includes movement through some countertransference materials that I just don’t like. “Seriously?” I ask myself at the end of the day, some days. “This is what I signed up for?”
I signed up for Meaning. I signed up for Life. For Mind. Consciousness. Service. Relationship.
I signed up for Growth, and though it comes as a surprise every time, I’m getting it.
These are mysterious things, if things they be. It is a real privilege, an honor, to walk this path. Even on days when it feels like a curse.